News & Brews April 17, 2024

Get News & Brews in your inbox each day: Subscribe here!

Lawmaker calls on Shapiro to stop ‘data theft’ by 3rd party political website

After the new investigation from Broad + Liberty showing a Democrat-aligned website was collecting voter data for political purposes, while looking like an official state website, Rep. Seth Grove (York County) called on the Shapiro administration and the Pa. Department of State to put a stop to the practice. “It is absolutely unacceptable for third-party entities to use the guise of ‘voter registration’ as a cover for their data theft operations,” Grove said. “ is a prime example of such a malicious attempt, preying on unsuspecting voters or potential voters who are likely seeking the official Department of State’s website,” Grove also “questioned the effectiveness of Shapiro’s Election Threats Task Force for not picking up on this scam. Shapiro said the task force will ‘ensure all levels of government are working together to combat misinformation.’”

Warrant issued for Dem state rep’s arrest as Dems seek to oust him 

The Inquirer reports that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of Democrat state Rep. Kevin Boyle (Philadelphia) “after Boyle allegedly violated a protection from abuse order.” Boyle is “expected to be charged with violation … by communication.” Meanwhile, this is only the latest in his troubles. While publicly hoping Boyle seeks help after making threats during a drunken outburst at a bar, Democrats are throwing their money behind Boyle’s opponent in the contested House primary race. The Inquirer reports that thus far, the House Democratic Campaign Committee has put $72,000 into Democrat Sean Dougherty’s attempt to defeat Boyle in the April 23 election. “That amount is a significant sum for a state House campaign and signals that Democrats see holding that seat as critical to maintaining their narrow state House majority in November.” Notably, however, Democrat leaders have not actually called for Boyle to resign.

Two staff members of disbanded state commission still getting paid

PennLive reports that more than two years after the Pennsylvania Legislative Apportionment Commission approved new legislative district maps, and a year and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the maps, two commission staff members are still collecting salaries. Apparently, they’re completing a report and digitizing old records. But some are questioning the year-round, full-time salaries, which are a combined $184,000.

Proposed handheld cell phone ban has RTK twist

The Post-Gazette reports that a proposed state ban on handheld cell phones while driving may have the support of a majority of lawmakers, but newly added language in the House version of the bill is raising transparency questions. “Before the final House vote …  new language was added calling for police to collect data during traffic stops on the driver’s perceived race and ethnicity, age and gender, among other things. The new language included a sentence that says the collected data ‘shall not be accessible’ under the state Right-to-Know Law.” Oddly, though, the bill makes the data available to “organizations that compile national data statistics.” This led one attorney to state, “If it is a public record, it is public. You can’t give it to some people and not to others. That is what is confusing to me. They are willing to give it to certain groups.” The amended bill must head to the Senate for concurrence.

Spending in Pa. GOP House primary nears $500K

Speaking of contested primary races, Pa. House Republican Leader (and former Speaker) Bryan Cutler (Lancaster County) is embroiled in an expensive one. The LNP reports that Cutler’s challenger, political newcomer David Nissley and groups supporting Nissley, have thus far spent more than $260,000 against Cutler. Meanwhile, Cutler and groups backing him have spent more than $194,000. Unlike the Boyle race mentioned above, where Dems are hoping to oust their incumbent, the House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC) is working to keep Cutler. The story notes that since last week, HRCC has given Cutler $132,000.

Sign up to get News & Brews in your inbox